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31 January 2012 - 22:23

Speaker of Pakistan's National Assembly says her country needs Iran gas and will continue to support the construction of Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline despite the pressures exerted from the United States.

Speaking to her Iranian counterpart, Ali Larijani on Tuesday, Fahmida Mirza said Pakistan's National Assembly seeks to promote energy relations between Islamabad and Tehran.

Therefore, she added, Pakistani lawmakers have expressed their support for the IP pipeline project, which is supposed to take Iran's natural gas to the neighboring Pakistan.

The two parliament speakers met on the sidelines of the 7th General Assembly meeting of the Islamic Inter-Parliamentary Union (IIPU), in Palembang, Indonesia.

During the meeting, Iran's Majlis (parliament) speaker underlined the necessity of further strengthening the economic, political and social interactions between the two neighboring countries.

Larijani added that the development of cordial relations between Tehran and Islamabad will have positive effects on the whole region.

On Wednesday, January 25, the International Herald Tribune reported that Washington is trying to lure Islamabad away from the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project by offering cheaper gas to the country. The article added that the US has stepped up efforts to lobby Pakistan to abandon not only the IP gas pipeline project, but also liquefied natural gas (LNG) purchases from its western neighbor in return for cheaper gas from the US.

Meanwhile, spokeswoman of the US State Department, Victoria Nuland, said last Friday that Washington has urged Pakistan to abandon the IP gas pipeline project, promising that the US will help Islamabad with the consequences of the decision.

The multi-billion-dollar Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline aims to export a daily amount of 21.5 million cubic meters (or 8.7 billion cubic meters per year) of the Iranian natural gas to Pakistan.

Maximum daily gas transfer capacity of the 56-inch pipeline which runs over 900 km of Iran's soil from Asalouyeh in Bushehr Province to the city of Iranshahr in Sistan and Baluchestan Province has been given at 110 million cubic meters.

Iran has already constructed more than 900 kilometers of the pipeline on its soil.

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